Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFC) is a state of feeling tired for a long time that cannot be recovered soon after rest. This chronic condition may continue for almost 6 months tend to disturb the normal activity. It is most commonly seen in women at their 40s or 50s. The disease might appear to be accompanied by problems in concentration leading to short term memory. It is often difficult to diagnose the symptoms of the syndrome as it corresponds itself with other psychological diseases. However, serious illness or excessive stress and weakness in the immune system can cause this condition which might last for years if left untreated. People with this syndrome become sick and weary both physically and mentally where the quality of life is completely disturbed.
It is difficult to specifically confirm the symptoms of CFS as there are similarities with symptoms of other viral infections. Some of the symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue or tiredness
- Mild fever
- Joint pains
- Feeling restless even after sleep
- Difficulty in concentration
- Lymph nodes particularly in the armpits or the neck
- Weakness in muscles
- Sore throat
- Memory loss
- Problems in speaking particular words
- Depression due to delayed actions
The exact cause for the condition remains unknown. It is suspected that viral infections may lead to the chronic stage of fatigue syndrome. Epstein-Barr, human herpesvirus6 and mouse leukemia viruses may seem to spread virus that cause extreme tiredness but a fair judgment on the above point cannot be concluded. People with weak immune system may fall at the risk of developing the disease to some extent. Hormonal imbalance particularly in women might result in causing the syndrome but the factual information is still unclear. However, age, stress levels, work environment and hereditary reasons might lead to its development. In some cases muscle diseases, endocrine diseases and other diseases in heart, kidney or liver might possibly be the other causes of fatigue. It is a symptom of mental health problems like depression and schizophrenia.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can in no way diagnosed as there are no specific reasons for the cause of the disease. However, tests conducted to treat other illnesses might prove successful in identifying the syndrome. Swelling in the lymph nodes, redness in the throat, fever are some of the symptoms checked as a part of physical examination. A careful observation of testing mononucleosis, lyme disease, thyroid, diabetes, cancers, bipolar disorder, depression and other psychological disorders might rule out the condition of fatigue syndrome. Blood test, antibody test, CT scan or MRI, computed tomography to test the decreased flow of blood might be the most suitable diagnosis for fatigue.
In most cases, depression leads to fatigue syndrome. So treating depression would reduce the problems associated with chronic fatigue syndrome to the maximum extent. Antidepressants as suggested by the physician may improve sleep and reduce pain in such patients. Gentle exercises particularly stretching movements may be prescribed to reduce pain in the muscles. A psychological counseling would also be helpful to improve the mental condition of the patient. Making necessary changes in the lifestyle like taking balanced diet, reducing stress, increasing the intake of nutrients in food and physical exertion might also reduce this syndrome.
Complications like developing depression, loneliness and isolation, restrictions in lifestyle and less action in the work place may quite possibly occur with the syndrome. Problems in the digestive system, hormones and immune problems might be created due to infections in the body and sleeplessness.
The first step to cure fatigue syndrome is to reduce stress both physically and emotionally. Taking time to relax and rest for a short while would prove helpful. Avoiding the consumption of alcohol and caffeine can be a possible home tip to reduce the syndrome. Improving sleeping habits and balancing work evenly would also help in improving the condition. Acupuncture, yogic exercises and massages might transform the mental attitude of the patient. Borage seed oil, garlic, biloba, primrose oil, astragalus and bromelain are some of the herbal supplements given to patients with the syndrome.
The chronic stage of fatigue syndrome is seen in stressed conditions, too much of exercise and lack of sleep. Hence improving the above areas would control its severity.
Nevertheless, emotional support from family and friends and good counseling would increase the energy levels in a positive manner among patients with severe fatigue syndrome.